Paul Hubbard: Group Facilitator

Some say this is the "me" generation and it's all about "me." Although Paul Hubbard, associate director of foodservice operations at 527-bed Stony Brook (NY) University Hospital on Long Island, has helped place his facility on the cutting edge of what's new and exciting in healthcare foodservice today, "me" isn't part of his lexicon.

For Hubbard, it's all about "we" and "us" and facilitating the work of a team of 185 dedicated department employees who, over the past six years, have transformed a 26-year-old facility, and a department that was serving 1.8 million meals annually (including retail, patient and catering areas), into a modern one on target to produce 2.1 million meals by year's end.

During that same time period, revenue has grown from $3.3 million in 2000 to $5.6 million today. Perhaps most impressive, since it occurred amidst a $7-million capital improvement project, patient satisfaction scores, as reported by Press Ganey, zoomed from "unacceptable" (Hubbard's word) to between the 95th and 99th percentiles today, when compared with other similar Long Island hospitals.

Shifting gears: Hubbard, whose background includes formal chef training, spent many years working the marathon days often required in casual dining and mom-and-pop restaurants prior to switching to healthcare foodservice. He was seeking regular Monday-through-Friday hours with weekends free to antique and garden with his wife (and gain quality time with their six grandchildren).

Based on his experience working in contracted acute care and assisted-living facilities, he was hired to join the Stony Brook staff as assistant director seven years ago when the department was under a management contract. He was originally tasked with overseeing purchasing and production, but within his first year on the job the facility switched to self-operation, his title changed to associate director, and his duties expanded to encompass all retail operations and catering.

"Currently, I oversee purchasing, receiving, retail, catering, information systems and security for the department, and I've acted as construction liaison for all capital improvement projects," Hubbard says, using the "I" word only out of necessity. "I tend to be a facilitator and assist with getting certain functions done. Going self-op changed how we did business from both a budgetary and organizational standpoint. Without the contractor, we had to develop our own hiring practices, menus, programs, etc. It saved us a ton of money, $300,000 in labor costs and the management fee,within the first year."

Aiming to effect a seamless transition to self-op (overnight from June 30 to July 1), Hubbard and other key administrators busily completed the writing of schedules, recipe manuals, employee orientation guides and many other behind-the-scenes projects.

Next steps: With the transition accomplished, modernization of the facility was next on administration's agenda. This included the physical plant, production facility, trayline and retail operations (then serving approximately 3,200 customers), along with the requisite technology. It was all part of a much larger, hospital-wide capital improvement plan worth about $450 million.

"We were moving from cook-chill to cook-serve," Hubbard explains. "The hospital hired a consultant to plan all phases of the project. Of course, the plan then needed to be reviewed, modified, funded and phased-in over the next four years. Even though this included gutting the entire facility, we still had to feed the patients."

Throughout the project Hubbard acted as construction liaison. The first year saw the inauguration of the new warewashing system (February 2002) followed by patient feeding, a new bakery, hot production, receiving and stores, all completed by November of that year. "As a member of the team from food and nutrition, I met with others including the consultant, the engineering team, plus end users," he recalls. "There were weekly and bi-weekly meetings to discuss when to do, how to do, and how much needed to be spent. Then there was the job of procuring equipment and planning the phased implementation. So my role was to help the team with the coordination of this phase of the project."

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

An agreement between Northwestern University’s new foodservice vendor and the union that represents many of the school’s service workers has put to rest some staff concerns over its upcoming vendor switch, reports The Daily Northwestern .

Unite Here Local 1 said that it met with representatives of Compass Group North America, which assumes control of the Evanston, Ill., school’s foodservice this fall, and reached a deal to ensure that staff who previously worked under Sodexo and Aramark would have job security with Compass. In addition, the agreement continues many benefits that...

Ideas and Innovation
scratch card

Two days a week, we do scratch card purchases of $6 or more to get a free item on the next visit. Patients and staff look forward to the Monday and Friday scratch card days. It increases sales on slow days as well as guest satisfaction.

Ideas and Innovation
ramen noodles

The Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock has unveiled a new, full-time food truck called Food from the Heart. It’s the first hospital-owned and operated food truck in the nation, according to KATV .

The truck, which will offer a limited menu that includes Chef Coby Smith ’s popular ramen, served its first meal on May 2 and will roll out service throughout the area beginning next month, the report said.

In addition, it will have pop-up locations, allowing the hospital to extend its reach to communities outside metro Little Rock. The truck can also be used in emergency...

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to boost sustainability, Dartmouth Dining Services recently replaced its paper straws with red-and-white paper versions that are biodegradable, The Dartmouth reports .

The move is “a small step but a very important one,” Associate Director of Dining Services Don Reed told The Dartmouth.

While paper straws are slightly more expensive for the department than plastic ones, the difference is slight enough to justify, Reed says.

Not all students at the Hanover, N.H., school are on board with the change, however, and some are reportedly hoarding straws from...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code